By Karin Leuthold
The approach of the "Madeleine Foundation" is clear and simple: Its members do not believe the version of the McCanns, they do not believe that their daughter Maddie was abducted on 3 May 2007 by an unknown from her bedroom in the Portuguese holiday resort. They believe, rather, the child was dead and they suspect that Kate and Gerry McCann have something to do with her death.
The "Madeleine Foundation" has "search for the truth" written on the banner. Their view of things coincides precisely with that of the deposed Portuguese chief investigator Gonçalo Amaral.
The organization will not rest until the parents would be held to account, is stated on its website. 20 minutes Online spoke with Vera Steinke, the German representative of the 'Madeleine Foundation'.
20 minutes online: Ms. Steinke, what is the motivation of the "Madeleine Foundation" to work on behalf of the little girl?
Vera Steinke: We say quite simply that the British people have a right to a fair presentation of the facts and analysis, which lead to only one conclusion: namely that no kidnapping can have happened. In the case of missing Madeleine, we have the example of an unusual pair, who are suspected of a serious crime, but are supported by the British Government and the British press by its massively one-sided reporting.
You claim that the McCanns would be supported by the British government? Why?
Unfortunately, this is still today the big question. There is only conjecture and speculation but nothing concrete. It is clear that from the beginning a massive intervention and support by the British government took place, well above and beyond what is normal (usual). It would seem as if it was not just about the disappearance of a little girl.
About what, then?
There are two facts, that are worth mentioning here: one is the current spokesman of the McCann family, Clarence Mitchell, a former government spokesman, who, on the instructions of Prime Minister Gordon Brown, took on the media work for the parents in September 2007 - shortly after they were declared suspects. On the other hand, the Portuguese investigator Gonçalo Amaral has been removed from the case, after the Summit in 2007 and a conversation between Gordon Brown and his Portuguese counterpart José Sócrates - precisely at the moment when he had developed a critical attitude towards the parents.
Gonçalo Amaral has not been working on the case since the autumn of 2007. He is disseminating through the Internet the theory that Maddie is dead and that by the hand of the parents - as a result of an accident or a crime -. Why does he not get more attention?
It seems that forces in the British government are preventing this case from being investigated objectively and in all directions. Only one theory is allowed, namely that of the parents, of the alleged abduction, although no evidence exists. Gonçalo Amaral had to give up the case, when he officially declared the parents suspects, after the sniffer dogs had found clear evidence.
What does your organization do specifically, in order to help in resolving the matter?
Because the members of the "Madeleine Foundation" are not investigators, they cannot do anything in this direction. You can, however, by actions - such as petitions, try to request the British Government to reconsider the case, for example for neglect and violation of oversight duty of the parents. The distribution of leaflets in Leicester and the surrounding area a few days ago, for example, has caused a lot of stir in the British press.
Do you think that the case will be opened again?
The parents seem in any case not to be interested in a resumption of the case. This in turn raises a further question: Why not? Parents, whose child has disappeared, should have the biggest interest in the clarification of such a case.
in 20 Minuten Online
Madeleine Foundation in BBC East Midlands
The McCann's Answer in findmadeleine.com
18th August Re: 'Madeleine Foundation'
We do not wish to dignify the actions of the so-called 'Madeleine Foundation' with any response. We do feel it is important, however, that the general public are made aware that the 'Madeleine Foundation' has no connection whatsoever with our family or those helping us to find Madeleine, including law enforcement agencies or child welfare NGO's (non-governmental organisations). We also strongly believe that the actions of this organisation do not have Madeleine's best interest at heart; if anything, the organisation is hindering all our efforts to find Madeleine and achieve justice.
Madeleine Foundation Leaflet in PDF here